Co-producing Urbanisms

Cities are shaped by multiple interests, which often act in pursuit of conflicting visions. City-regional partnerships and growth coalitions develop strategic frameworks to address complex challenges, whilst grassroots movements and citizen collectives explore alternative urban futures.

The theme tests whether and how co-production can work across urban divides between citizens/state, the informal/ formal and research/practice to help develop progressive and sustainable urbanisms.

Research Questions

–    How do different boundary spaces and intermediation processes work to include marginalised voices in urban governance?
–    Who is included/excluded and whose expertise matters in forging alternative urban futures?
–    What innovations and experiments from research and practice inform alternative urbanisms?
–    What can we learn from comparison between urban transition approaches emerging in the Global South and North?


September 13, 2017 in Blog, Co-producing Urbanisms

Fearless Cities: the new urban movements

A wave of new municipalist movements has been experimenting with how to take – and transform – power in cities large and small. Bertie Russell and Oscar Reyes report on the growing success of radical urban politics around the world. This blog post originally appeared on…

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July 5, 2017 in Co-producing Urbanisms

Cultural Heritage and the Just City

The New Urban Agenda, signed in Quito Ecuador in 2016, calls for a broad and holistic understanding of the strategies and approaches needed to develop more sustainable urban transformations.  Importantly, it appears to correct a cultural-blindness in sustainable development policies…

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Realising Just Cities: The Mistra Urban Futures Centre: A four-year international research programme at the Urban Institute, undertaken with partners in Sweden, Kenya and South Africa (2016-2019). It is the current collaborative framework for the Mistra Urban Futures centre, headquartered in Gothenburg at Chalmers/Gothenburg Universities, which aims to support sustainable urbanisation processes which are accessible, green and fair.

Jam and Justice: Co-producing Urban Governance for Social Innovation: An ESRC Urban Transformations project setting up an Action Research Cooperative to co-design more inclusive governance processes in Greater Manchester (2016-2019). Led by University of Sheffield, with Universities of Manchester and Birmingham, the Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisations and Mistra Urban Futures.

Whose Knowledge Matters? Competing and Contesting Knowledge Claims in 21st Century Cities

Knowledge Matters explores the functioning of citizen knowledge in urban decision-making and strategy development, to understand how city officials can best respond to pressing challenges (2016-2019). Funded by the ESRC through the Open Research Area initiative, in partnership with Sheffield Methods Institute and University of Twente, Netherlands.

Cultural Heritage and Improvised Music in European Festivals (CHIME): The project explores the uses and re-uses of different types of heritage and examines how changing relationships between music, festivals and cultural heritage sites renegotiate established understandings and uses of heritage (2016-2017). Funded by JPI Heritage Plus, with partners in Birmingham City University, University of East Anglia, University of Amsterdam and University of Gothenburg.


UN Sustainable Development Goal 11: Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable


people still live in extreme poverty globally


in 9 people in the world today are undernourished


Voter turnout in the 2016 English local elections